Priceville falls to West Morgan

CHARLEY GAINES

Hartselle Enquirer

 

The Priceville High School football team took a loss in their first 2016 season game Thurs., Aug. 25 at their home stadium 41-21 against West Morgan High School.

“Make sure you let people know how proud I am of this team after this game,” emphasized Head Coach Dirk Strunk. “I need people to know how proud I am of them even with this loss.”

After a game full of pacing and gesticulating, Dirk brought the team together to congratulate them in a huddle and urge them on as they head into the season.

“This is going to be a step-by-step season,” the coach told his troops after the game. “It’s not the end, it’s not a regional game so it really doesn’t matter. Their win just means they’ll be on Twitter for the next 24 hours talking about it, and then we’ll all move on.”

The bulldogs sat quietly and listened to Strunk as he offered praise and support. The loss might have contributed to the silence, or soreness from cramps that riddled the team throughout the second half might have been the culprit.

Thursday’s home game was shaky to begin with as a freshman and sophomore heavy team moved slowly and with some incoordination. The reality of the game seemed to snap them together as the game went on as they focused and moved the ball more.

West Morgan scored the first touchdown after a long pass to the Rebel’s Maurice Gray (21) was carried down the sideline and into the end zone with little opposition from the Bulldog defense. The reality of a touchdown coming from a team that was 0-10 the previous season seemed to shake the Bulldog’s nerves.

Priceville’s first seven of the season came after the Rebels fumbled a kick return. The Bulldogs took advantage of the slip and touched the ball at the 2 yard line. Seconds later, with 7:27 left in the first half, the team got into the end zone.

The first half ended with two 14’s lighting the scoreboard behind Priceville Elementary School.

Progress for Priceville stalled again at the top of the second half and then started deteriorating in what might have otherwise been a close game.

The teams came back onto the field, and from about midway through the third quarter to the end of the game, Bulldogs suddenly became dropping flies. The sideline was a stretching zone and play was interrupted by men down on the field suffering from cramps. The Rebels took advantage of the hurting team.

West Morgan got their third touchdown with 5:55 left in the third quarter, putting ahead 21-14 and kept pulling further and further ahead at that point. The Rebels went through into the end zone again in the third quarter and got the extra point, making the score 21.14.

“In the second half, we ran out of gas,” said Strunk. “We moved the ball, but then we would turn it over or we’d get a penalty and that would hurt us.”

Priceville gained a little hope with 7:54 left in the game as Steven Vo, who ended up with more than 200 yards rushing throughout the game (with 31 converted) ran the ball in for touchdown number three for the Bulldogs, bringing the score to 28-21.

From there, the cramps got worse and so did the score for the Bulldogs. Even though they lost the game, Strunk kept bragging on his team after their first game.

“I’m proud of them,” he said. “They fought until the very end. These seniors could have thrown temper tantrums about the younger players and their performance, but they lifted their teammates up. There’s a lot of pluses. OK, they beat us for the first time in six years; hats off to them. Their kids played hard. We just have to play hard and work on getting better.”

Priceville football’s next game is an away game at West Limestone. The game is Fri., Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.

 

 

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